676 Temple of Enlightenment – Lv4 Shadowdark Adventure

They are fraudulent scammers. They offer cheap, bland salvation to those in need. In the end, this is just a ploy to conscript fools to their sect, I tell you…

Bailiff Joseph Barnes

The townsfolk worry about a recently found­ed sect led by an obscure priestess. They call themselves the Temple of Enlightenment and claim to have the answer to quench soli­tude, sadness, and lack of purpose. Many have joined the strange cult thus far. Most of them are lonely individuals, the homeless, and maybe even some pesky low-lives.

Priestess Argantha is an invoker of chaos and a de­vout Memnon worshiper. Two months ago, she moved into the region and found an old temple near the capital that was trashed decades ago. Memnon’s temple was at­tacked by knights and the congregation put to the sword back then. But the priestess seeks to restore the Mem­non’s sect and increase the chaotic deity’s reach.

Adventure Hooks

Rescue. The sect has conscripted enough people that the locals are worried about their reach and power. In addition, some people have been taken against their will, or so many suspect. Bailiff Joseph Barnes hires the char­acters to raid the Temple of Enlightenment, dismantle the sect, and rescue any prisoners therein (60 gp, 6 XP).

RUMORS d4 Details
1 The locals claim that the sect leader, a mysterious wom­an, has the power to influence and control weak minds.
2 Many claim that members of the sect have turned their lives around and become better people. Alas, no one can name a single example of such behavior.
3 The sect gathers in an ancient temple of Memnon that was abandoned until they restored it recently.
4 People blame recent robberies and raids in the northern roads on the Temple of Enlightenment sect.

Level 4 Adventure

  • Danger. Risky. Check for a Random Event every 2 crawling rounds and after loud noises (3-in-6 chance).
  • Light. Some areas have light sources; the rest of them are dark. None of the denizens are dark-adapted.
  • Secret Doors. Inspecting areas for 1 crawling round reveals the presence of hidden levers (DC 13 WIS check). Pulling them reveals access to hidden chambers.
1 Eight cultists in ceremonial attire approach the party unsure of their unexpected presence (Reaction check).
2 A cultist with a trained hell hound follows the beast’s instincts as it has detected the character’s trail.
3 Priestess Argantha speaks into the characters’ minds: “Abandon your quest and join us. It is still time to find so­lace.” It occurs only if the priestess is aware of the party.
4 3d4 bandits approach the characters. These brigands loosely follow the cult; they were hired by the priestess.
5 In the temple, a random character triggers a pressure plate and a scythe swings from the ceiling. The character takes 4d6 damage (DC 14 DEX check for half).
6 A vision of a leonine warrior assails the characters’ minds. Memnon beckons them to join the sect.
7 Supernatural wind blows through, snuffing out all light sources. The cultists promptly relight the braziers.
8 Memnon’s chaotic influence causes a ravenous swarm of rats to gather near the characters and attack.

1. Temple Entrance

The temple is in ruins; nothing more than scattered rub­ble and broken pillars. It is located a mile from the city. Searching through the ruined remains, a descending stairway into the underground compound remains.

  • The Guards. Four soldiers keep watch by the stairs. Before antagonizing the characters, they offer affiliation to Memnon’s sect. To comply, the characters would have to surrender all their gear before entering the temple.
  • Alternate Entrance. If the characters explore the outside of the temple for 1 crawling round, they find a staircase covered with planks. It leads down to area 3.

2. Main Hall

A circular, floor mosaic displays the seven sigils of Memnon, the Lion of Chaos. Each rune represents the acceptance of each of the fundamental sins.

This chamber is directly below what used to be the ante­chamber on the surface. Light used to flow from stained glass above but the aperture collapsed a while ago.

  • The Mosaic. The mosaic represents the spirit of cha­os and the red-maned, leonine entity, Memnon. This is Madeera’s twin, a being whose ultimate ambition is to rend her sister’s cosmic laws (DC 13 INT check).

3. Urns of Ash

Six gilded urns hug the walls of this otherwise empty chamber. Each is branded with the rune for ‘saint’.

  • The Bookshelf. The shelf is a deadly decoy. The books are blank. Interacting with any of them triggers a poison needle trap that deals 4d6 damage (DC 15 DEX check).
  • The Urns. The ashes of some followers of Memnon were placed here; a place of honor in their faith (DC 17 INT). Removing any of the lids triggers a magical ward that alerts Priestess Argantha of the party’s presence.

4. Priestess Argantha’s Quarters

The private quarters for a single person. An embroi­dered rug with a leonine warrior stands next to a wooden desk crammed with scrolls and papers.

The priestess spends little time in this room, preferring to share time with the loyal sectarians in area 13. A scroll on the desk contains Memnon’s Prayer (see area 7).

  • Treasures (0 XP). The rug is of fine craftsmanship (10 gp), a potion of healing is stored on the bookshelf, and a spell scroll of speak with dead lies on the desk.

5. Circle of Teleportation

The half-foot-tall, stone circle etched with arcane mark­ers is a focus for the teleportation spell. Priestess Argan­tha may flee here if she fails to stop the characters and attempt to use her spell scroll of teleportation to escape.

6. Common Rooms

Triple bunk beds line the walls of this chamber. The rancid stench of humanity pervades this room. It has been severely overcrowded by cultists as of late.

  • Cultists. When the characters come, there are 2d6 sect members (peasants) at any given time. They emerge into area 5 if the characters make noise there.
  • Treasure (1 XP). The wooden chest contains a leath­er pouch with 12 gp and six ornate daggers (2 gp each).

7. Room of Guardians

The door to this chamber is locked (DC 15 DEX check). Some cultists have the key to this lock (1-in-6 chance).

Four statues of armor-clad knights brandishing a lion sigil stand with their arms and empty hands spread.

  • Inanimate Guardians. Each of the statues is a mag­ical construct guardian (gargoyle). They only allow cult members or prospect converts down into area 11. The characters’ presence triggers them to attack when the party least expects it. They can be triggered to stand down if a character recites Memnon’s Prayer to fool them into accepting them as cultists (DC 16 WIS).

8. Chapel of Envy

Rows of wooden pews lead to three pedestals with many jade-stone trinkets and shallow gilded pots.

Six sectarians (peasants) sit in prayer by the eastern pews. They antagonize the characters verbally as they are unarmed and attempt to flee to area 11 if possible.

  • The Pedestals. A wretched curse on the pots and trinkets causes anyone who touches them to suffer pain­ful cramps at the worst possible moment once per day. When the curse is triggered, the person can do nothing but grovel for 1 minute (DC 18 CON check).
  • Treasure (1 XP). Collectively, the rough, jade figu­rines are worth 15 gp when sold as a lot. Alas, the cramp­ing curse is spread to anyone who touches them.

9. Secret Vault

The hidden room contains four stone chests and a wood­en shelf with papers and scrolls in disarray.

  • Treasure (7 XP). The chests contain 50 gp, 100 sp, 640 cp, and a silver ingot (10 gp). The wooden shelf con­tains one of each of the following scrolls: shield of faith, cleansing weapon, pillar of salt, and speak with dead.

10. Chapel of Pride

Three statues of a shape-changing, granite-like sub­stance stand by the curved, west wall. The effigies appear to take on the form of whoever approaches.

  • The Statues. Each magical representation imitates whoever stands in front of them and displays them in the best form possible. Warriors are presented as more mus­cled and confident than they are, for instance. In Mem­non’s belief system, one must embrace the exalted image with pride while understanding the distance one must go to achieve the ephemeral stone representation.
  • Guardians. Three sect members (one cultist, one soldier, and one gladiator) stand by each of the statues and are startled by the statues’ sudden changes when the characters enter the chamber. They fight fiercely.

11. Seat of Chaos

The descending stairs lead to the raised level of a large cathedral-like chamber. A large stone throne overlooks the congregation on the chamber’s far side.

Priestess Argantha sits on the throne and preaches to her congregation about the gift of power that Memnon has given her. She is initially unaware of the party.

  • Sneak Attack. A character may attempt to sneak be­hind the throne and hide from the congregation in area 13 to attempt to attack the priestess from hiding or to take her hostage (DC 18 DEX check). On a fail, the final encounter begins as written (see area 13).

12. Fonts of Despair

Crystalline, glimmering water flows from two pitch­er-shaped fonts onto circular, 2-foot-tall ponds.

Drinking the water heals 1d6 hit points. After 1 hour elapses, a toxin in the water deals 3d6 damage. For the sect, it is a trial of passage to survive this ordeal.

13. The Blighted Congregation

Sitting on the wooden pews are three cultists, two sol­diers, one gladiator, and seven peasants. They are loy­al to Priestess Argantha (mage), who sits on the raised throne (area 11). The zealous congregation does its best to protect the priestess but may stop in its tracks if she is taken prisoner (see area 11). Otherwise, the overcon­fident priestess orders her followers to take the charac­ters into custody to be used as ritual sacrifices for the all-mighty Memnon. If things go sour for the sect, Priestess Argantha abandons her loyalists and uses her Levitate ability to escape toward area 5 to teleport away.

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